Bullfighting, a rare subject “which transcends partisan divisions” among deputies

“I hear them laugh as I groan and I see them dance as I succumb / I did not think we could have so much fun around a grave”. Aymeric Caron took care to quote the famous song by Francis Cabrel in the preamble of his bill (PPL) to ban bullfighting. The anti-species deputy will take advantage of the parliamentary niche * of La France insoumise, this Thursday, to try to “abolish” on French territory what he considers to be “barbarism”.

His text, already presented (and rejected) in the law commission last week, should once again give rise to fiery debates in the Hemicycle. And if the possibility that the measure will be voted on is low, bullfighting appears to be one of the rare transpartisan subjects within the National Assembly.

Dissensions for the Nupes

Just over 90 rebellious deputies and environmentalists signed Aymeric Caron’s bill. In the other political parties — and this is rather rare — there are detractors as well as aficionados. Thus, within the left, the prohibition of bullfighting is far from achieving consensus. As early as last May, the Nupes specified in its programmatic agreement for the legislative elections that “the Socialist Party and the French Communist Party will not support the proposals relating to hunting and bullfighting”, leaving these themes “to the wisdom of the Assembly”.

Stéphane Peu, elected Communist of Seine-Saint-Denis, believes that his group (Democratic and Republican Left) will vote in majority against this text. “Behind this debate, there is the obsession of Caron and anti-speciesists to open a door for other bans, ritual slaughter or cockfighting, which are defended in particular by our elected representatives from overseas”, he says. . “I will vote against, because I was shocked by the words of Caron, who put human and animal suffering on an equal footing”. The Socialist deputies, for their part, also seem divided.

“A subject of society that transcends divisions”

The right should also come out in majority against the proposal of Aymeric Caron. But not all of the 62 elected. “There will be no pressure for a group vote, we will be two or three to stand out. It’s good to show that we are not there just to press a button, that votes are personal convictions, it is the nobility of politics, ”said Eric Pauget. The elected LR of the Alpes-Maritimes has for several years been in favor of the abolition of bullfighting.

“It is not a political subject in the sense of management of the city, but a real subject of society, which transcends partisan divisions, he adds. There is a new sensitivity to the animal condition throughout society, regardless of age or political persuasion. This is why I think that bullfighting will eventually disappear in the short or medium term”. According an Ifop poll published last week, 74% of French people would be in favor of banning this practice, with a clear majority in each of the political camps.

The RN is struggling to find a clear position

This perhaps explains the sometimes convoluted positioning of political parties. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, which continues to claim to be an animal defender, will also allow freedom to vote on the subject this Thursday. Four RN deputies from Gard have indicated in particular that they would oppose the PPL, just like the four elected representatives of Pyrénées-Orientales or even Emmanuel Taché de la Pagerie, deputy of Camargue. “I respect the opinions of my colleagues, especially from the South [territoires où la corrida est toujours légale], but there is confusion. It is not a tradition that is targeted, just the withdrawal of a barbaric practice and the martyrdom of the bulls ”, grinds Julien Odoul, elected RN of Yonne.

Proof of the divisions in its ranks, Marine Le Pen preferred not to decide, defending a half-fig half-grape position, either the prohibition of bullfighting… for minors. “A balanced position because she is the candidate of all French people,” says Julien Odoul, without much conviction.

An overloaded schedule?

The executive seems equally embarrassed. In July 2021, before being president of the Renaissance group in the Assembly, the deputy Aurore Bergé had signed a platform to ban this practice considered “barbaric”. In committee, last Wednesday, the macronists however swept away Aymeric Caron’s text, pointing out above all “the radicalism and the caricature” of the former journalist. “After bullfighting, it will be foie gras, barbecue, snails, oysters: where do you stop animal abuse? “, whistled the elected Renaissance du Gers, Jean-René Cazeneuve, to AFP.

The government will defend this delicate position on Thursday through the voice of the Secretary of State in charge of Rurality, Dominique Faure, preferred to the Keeper of the Seals, Eric Dupond-Moretti, passionate about bullfighting and more divisive. But will the text, placed in fourth position on this LFI niche day, have time to be put to the vote? More than 500 amendments have already been tabled. “An anti-democratic obstruction”, denounce the rebellious. The same had filed in 2020 more than 19,000 amendments against the pension reform. Francis Cabrel can sing: “Is this (political) world serious? »

* The parliamentary niches are days reserved for an opposition group in the Hemicycle, to enable it to defend bills.

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